Tonight's Prada show began. Then it ended. No sense of climax. The
models, male and female, older, younger, finished up where they started
out, at the top of a long, white, featureless ramp. The color palette
and the clothes, reduced to a handful of basic items, stayed the same
throughout, essentially gender-oblivious, bar the few fur pieces sported
by the women, who were also wearing headbands. (Several audience members
were catching a Gwyneth-in-Royal Tenenbaums vibe, but that seemed a tad
literal for Prada.) Even the shoes, always a weather vane in a Prada
show, were exactly the same unisex style of sandal from beginning to
end. Maybe Miuccia was saying that everything had become
hopelessly homogenized. The same. Or perhaps—a positive spin
here—she was implying that everything was equal. Or maybe it was
both—same and equal. That, at least, is what she
suggested after the show.
Miuccia insisted the whole thing was quite deliberately a blank canvas, the beginning of a new chapter in the Prada story. "Simplicity is repetitive and equal," she said. "After years of references and accessorizing, I felt the need to be so equal." It was only two days ago that she decided to add women to the show, the clincher that established the fundamental homogeneity of the whole proposition. Without their presence, it wouldn't have been so obvious that the collection's decorative elements had been pared to almost nothing: the border around a neckline or a placket or a hem. "The border is a timeless decoration, from Ancient Greece onwards," Miuccia explained. She added that it had taken three days to get the border on the collar of a polo shirt just right. On the other hand, she also claimed that the collection had come together faster than anything she'd ever done.
The tick-tock sameness of the presentation, coupled with the heightened physical perfection of the models, unusual in a Prada presentation, sparked a left-field analogy with a mad scientist's effort to create a perfect world. Out marched an army of cookie-cutter humans in clothes that were so band-box fresh they still had the creases in them. A brave new world? On that level, the show might be utterly epochal for Prada. But on a more immediate level, the repetition was numbing, and it fostered the inescapable feeling that it will take some additional Miuccia magic to get this collection from here to the shop floor.